FRC enters the digital age for applications and transcripts
Feather River College president Dr. Ron Taylor presented compelling reasons for purchasing two software applications accessible via the Internet, CCCApply and eTranscript, at the April board of trustees meeting.
FRC is one of the last community colleges to sign on to the systems. CCCApply will allow students anywhere to apply for enrollment in the California community college system, and to have their applications sent to FRC.
The system has the obvious benefit of making FRC that much more accessible and easier to apply to, according to Taylor.
In addition, it automates and streamlines the residency process. Students have to answer a series of questions that will make it easy for the Admissions and Records office to determine residency, “which is a huge issue for us now,” said Taylor.
It also ensures compliance with other legal and regulatory standards, including Americans with Disabilities Act and Office of Civil Rights, and will help determine AB 540 eligibility.
The legislation allows an immigrant student who has gone through the school system in California to register as a resident and pay in-state fees, “even if they’re undocumented, technically.”
The law is “a fairly complex thing to implement,” Taylor explained, and CCCApply has all of the criteria built into the application so that it’s easy for FRC’s Admissions and Records department to make a determination.
As soon as the admission application has been processed, FRC can provide the new student with registration, orientation and other information seamlessly. Further, the system provides links to applications for financial aid.
There are add-ons available for additional fees. One that the college will probably purchase in the future is the Board of Governors Fee Waiver Application, which determines dependency status and eligibility based on criteria such as family income or one of the special status designations.
Because the college has received a $15,000 grant, implementation and product costs for CCCApply will be covered. In addition, first year support fees will total $914.79. After that, support fees will total $7,464.60 per year.
The benefits of eTranscript, according to Taylor, include “speed of electronic transcript exchange, ease of transaction tracking and reporting, data transfer encryption, security of institution-to-institution exchange, student convenience, reduced college workload and expenses [and] standardized transcript views and data formats.”
The system allows for the transfer of student transcripts between all of the state’s community colleges, state universities, University of California campuses, private colleges and, soon, to and from the state’s high schools.
Costs include a one-time installation fee of $5,300. The price of operation and maintenance, prorated for the April 1 – June 30, 2010 period, is $861.25. The ongoing cost will be $3,656.25 per year.
A majority of board members agreed with chairman Bill Elliot that the two applications were a good long-term investment for a rather small amount of money.
Director Leah West, however, who had asked a number of pointed questions during the discussion, maintained that a new and ongoing purchase of this nature didn’t make sense when FRC was facing a budget shortfall of more than $400,000.
“I’m just thinking dollars. I’m just being conservative. I don’t think now’s the time to buy anything.”
The board voted four to one to proceed with both software applications.